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Port Authority Asks Norfolk Southern To Pay $3M Related To August Train Derailment

Kathleen J. Davis
90.5 WESA
A container of a derailed train car is lifted by a crane by Station Square on Monday, August 6, 2018.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is asking Norfolk Southern to repay the transit agency nearly $3 million related to a train derailment near Station Square last year.

The Authority formally made the request last week in a letter sent to the Norfolk, Va.-based railway dated Jan. 31.

Several double-stacked Norfolk Southern cars left the tracks above the Station Square T-Station Aug. 5, 2018, crashing into Port Authority facilities. No one was injured, but the accident did cause significant damage to the tracks and buildings below.

In a statement released Wednesday, Port Authority CEO Katharine Kelleman said the derailment "had a significant impact on our light rail operations and inconvenienced thousands of daily riders."

"Port Authority, our riders and the local economy paid the price, and we are now asking Norfolk Southern to reimburse us for the cost of repairs," Kelleman added. "Taxpayers and Port Authority patrons should not be burdened with the repair costs for this unfortunate event.”

The derailment led to the closure of that light rail station and the Monongahela Incline for 20 days. Other rail and bus lines were detoured during that time to accommodate the station's closure.

The itemized request sent to Norfolk Southern includes $1.5 million paid to contractors, nearly $1 million dollars in PAT employee labor, and $93,000 in lost revenue.

According to the press release issued by PAT Wednesday, Norfolk Southern told the Federal Railroad Administration in November that a broken rail caused the incident. The Railroad Administration has indicated it plans to issue a final incident report later this year.

The Authority anticipates that final report to include recommendations for mitigating the risk of future derailments in the area.

Christopher started listening to public radio shortly after he picked up the keys to that '98 Chevy Cavalier back in 2004. He no longer has that car (it's kind of a funny story), but he still listens to — and now has a hand in creating — public radio programming everyday.